December 14, 2012

Getting Back in the Game

After a month without fishing, I couldn't take it anymore! Utah has been caught in the dreaded in-between stage of everything freezing up. Lately, we'll have a few really cold days, and then warm days. I couldn't wait anymore so I made a quick trip down to the Jordan river to catch a few fish.
 
In 1/1/2 hours, I landed 35 White Bass and one small Large Mouth. The white bass ranged 8-11 inches. It was sure nice feeling the bend in my ultra-light again, but the ice-fighting itch has grown ever-more strong! The ice really needs to get here already! Here are a few pictures from today's adventure...
Average sized catch today.

If you look close, you can see a Large Mouth Bass in my hand.


A little girth is always nice.

December 3, 2012

Guest Post: Hunting and Hearing Loss

Hi, my name is John O'Connor. I am a father, outdoorsman and passionate about living a healthy lifestyle. Over the past few years, I have become more and more interested in hearing loss. my father and grandfathers, who are and were all hunters, are affected by hearing loss. I feel that there is a general lack of understanding around this issue, and it is our job to spread awareness where we can. Check out my blog at bloggingwjohno.blogspot.com!

Hunting And Hearing Loss
Hearing loss is permanent and it affects millions of people everyday. My father is affected by hearing loss and most of the damage is due to hunting. He still hunts but now a days wears hearing-aids to help him hear better along with his protective earmuffs. Hobbies like hunting and shooting are some of the top reasons that people suffer from hearing loss. While many people who are simply shooting at a range take the right precautions to ensure their hearing is not in danger, those who are out in the wilderness hunting will often leave the hearing protection at home. There are many things that all hunters should keep in their packs including earplugs, earmuffs and some new technological advances that help hunters to protect their hearing without muffling any other sounds around them.

Ear Plugs
Earplugs are one of the most convenient, affordable and popular types of hearing protection. These are available as small, disposable plugs that are extremely inexpensive. The plastic plugs will fit into virtually any ear and are easy to insert. They are very inexpensive so it is pretty cheap to have more than one set available at all times. While loud noises are muffled with the earplugs, most people will still be able to hear through them, unlike earmuffs that muffle all sounds. With the ear plugs, most hunters will still be able to hear people around them talking as well as many sounds of nature; like the wild game they are hunting for.

Full Ear Covers
Ear covers, otherwise known as earmuffs muffle all sounds. When a hunter puts on a set of earmuffs they will not be exposed to as much of the sound of the rifle or shotgun although they will also not be able to hear the elements of the woods. Because of this many hunters may look to use electronic earmuffs in order to be able to not only blocks sounds out from shooting but also to be able to hear others around them.

New Advances In Technology
Today, hunters do not need to settle for putting earplugs in every time they shoot or leaving on earmuffs that cancel out all noise; there is now a compromise. The new advances include a small device that is placed behind the ear, kind of like a hearing aid. This development allows hunters to save their hearing while being able to listen for the noises they need when out in the wild. Hearing loss can happen when one is exposed to high decibels over 85 for continued or repeated use. With the average rifle having a decibel level of 120 to 150, it is no surprise that the repeated sound of a rifle can cause immediate and permanent hearing loss. This type of hearing loss is called noise induced hearing loss; it is 100% preventable when one of the many types of hearing protection is used every time a rifle is fired.

November 12, 2012

Tail-End of the Spawn

The past several posts have been on the Weber river. This one is no different, and it was much like the past. I'm going to be lazy on this post and just say that the spawn is starting to die down a bit, but there is still a few fish on beds. This trip I was able to fish with my friend Joe and witness him pull a few tanks from the river. It's always fun fishing with him because he almost always lands a big fish. Here are a few pictures from the trip, enjoy...
 

First fish of the day.

Tank number one.

Tank number two.


My biggest of the day.


It was tough to see at times...

October 30, 2012

Gear Review: Costa Sunglasses

* Disclaimer: Product courtesy of Frames Direct. This is an unbiased review of the experience I had with this product. Good or bad, I'll give you my honest opinion.

The Fantail with turtle shell rims and amber lenses.
Frames Direct recently contacted me and asked if they could send me a pair of Costa Sunglasses to test out on the water in exchange for writing a review on how they performed. As anyone would do given this opportunity, I jumped at the chance to try out these sunglasses. However, as I soon found out as I used this product; they are not just your typical pair of sunglasses. No, these were built with fishermen in mind!
Over the years, I have owned several pairs of polarized sunglasses from a wide range of brands, models and prices. One of the things that immediately impressed my with the Costa line is the wide selection of frames and polarized tints they have. You can literally build the pair of glasses that you want to fulfill the functions that you want the most. For me, I went with the dark amber lenses for their ability to help you see into the water while sight-fishing, and the Fantail frame to help create a seal around my eyes.
Most fishing glasses on the market come with plastic lenses, but Costa gives you the option of their patented lightWAVE glass lenses which I chose to go with. They are 100% polarized and 100% UV A/B/C protected. This is the first time I have had glass lenses, and I chose them because of the added clarity and scratch resistance. Because of the glass, they are heavier than the other pairs that I have, but not by much. Compared to other glass lenses on other brands, Costa’s are 20% lighter and 22% thinner.
I used these glasses over the past couple of weeks on both rivers and lakes (see previous posts.) I also used them in several different weather and lighting situations. They out-performed the other pairs I own hands down! I could see further into the water in lakes and the lenses brought out more color than the other brands I own. They took the glare off the water almost completely giving you superb views below the water, and making it easy to spot fish. It is literally a night-and-day difference. See the pictures I took below of the same part of the river. Can you spot the Kokanee Salmon in the top picture? How about the bottom?

A view of the river without the Costa sunglasses over my camera lens.
A view of the river with the Costa  sunglasses over my camera lens.
 
A feature that I absolutely loved about Costa sunglasses are the rubber edges they have along the bottom of the frames. Not only does it make them more comfortable, but when you sweat, it creates a kind of suction to your face so that the glasses will not fall off easily while netting or releasing a big fish. This also makes it so you don’t have to wear those sometimes dorky looking lanyards.

To top it off, Costa also gives you a lifetime warranty against defects or workmanship to ensure that you always have a great pair of sunglasses on the water. After using them on the water and putting them to the test, I can tell you that these American-Made sunglasses are the best I have ever used, and I would recommend them to anyone.



October 27, 2012

Cold Weber Trip Produces Big Browns and Cutts

Second thoughts emerged about getting out of the truck this morning. I arrived at the river at 7:30 a.m. to frigid 17 degree temperatures that stung my face the second I opened the truck door. A rising fog covered the Weber river as if to try and hide it's treasure of big browns and aggressive cutthroat trout. My resolve stiffened, and I trudged through the snow to the waters edge and started casting into the deeper holes. Ice formed in the eyelets of my fishing rod making it difficult to cast without continually breaking it off every few casts. The fishing started out slow, and the fish seemed to not want to put forth much effort either during the cold morning hours. As the temperature started to heated up as the day went on, the fishing followed suit.
The first picture-worthy brown came about an hour into the trip. After that, the bigger fish came with regularity. They all tried their best to get away, but with each violent head-shake they were that much closer to the net. Today was different from most days in that I caught as my cutthroats as I did browns. The cutts had some size to them, and were acrobatic as they tail-danced across the water. I lost several fish in part to this dance.
While fishing the river, I was surprised at how few spawning beds there were. This time of year, the river is usually covered with beds and several trout. Of the few beds I saw, none of them had fish. That said, The day was filled with willing fish, and I ended the day with several fish at 20-22 inches. I will always take a day like that!
Today I tried P-Line Floroclear line for the first time. I went with Mist Green 10 pound test and set my drag a little tighter than usual so I could get them in quickly, get a photo, and release them back into the river safe-and-sound. P-Line Floroclear is a hybrid of monofilament line coated with fluorocarbon which gives you the stretch of mono and the invisibility and strength of fluoro. The line cast better than expected with the heavier test, and I was happy with it's performance.
I'm going to continue hitting the river for the next few weeks in hopes of that monster brown that keeps eluding me. Hopefully luck will be on my side in the next few trips, and I'll have that "wall-hanger" that I see in my dreams.

First picture-worthy brown of the day.
A good sized cutthroat for the Weber.





A nice brown to end the day on.

October 19, 2012

More Succesful Trips on the Weber

Since the last post, I've hit the Weber two more times. The first trip, I met up with Rob and we fished his property. This was going to be a fly fishing trip, but I forgot the most important thing to make that happen; a fly rod! Luckily my spinning rod was in the truck so at least I could still fish. Rob had his 5 weight, and was catching lots of fish. He was using a Hairs Ear with a Rainbow Warrior dropper, landing fish on both. Rob makes fly fishing look easy, and I always learn something from him when we fish together.
 
The fish we landed on this trip ranged from around 12-17 inches. As we fished, I would usually hit the hole behind Rob, and I picked up a few hear and there. We made it up to the whole where I caught big browns back-to-back, and I was chomping at the bit for another. I made my first cast and started reeling. As I jigged my lure in, I saw a huge flash in the water and had a monster hit, but I missed him! That was the biggest flash I have ever seen, and I missed a shot at what likely would have been a new personal best! While we were there we also saw a big brown come out of the depths to sip a fly off the surface. I wish I would have got it on film, because it happened right below the bank where I was standing. We didn't pull anything from that area, but we left seeing some big fish. On to trip number two...

Brown Trout.

Cutthroat Trout.

Mountain Whitefish.
On the second trip I hit a different section of the river that I haven't fished in a long time. This particular stretch of river has really changed from the last time I was here. Some of my favorite holes don't exist anymore from how much the river has shifted. The catching was a lot slower than previous trips, but this is the first time I have seen spawning beds this year. It seems that the spawn is finally starting!

The few fish I did catch all had good size to them. The surprise catch of the day was a thick 21 inch rainbow that gave me a great fight! With the way it ripped drag from my spinning reel, I can only imagine what it would have been like on a fly rod! I don't catch a lot of rainbows on the Weber,  so I looked at this fish as a major score! I also caught a nice cutthroat, and several browns in the 14-16 inch range. These were some fun trips, but the hunt goes on for that lunker brown...
21 inch rainbow. The biggest I've caught from the Weber.

Cutthroat Trout.

October 12, 2012

Brown Trout Anyone?

It is finally that time of year again! The brown trout are ready to spawn, which means my best shot at reaching my goal of landing a brown over 30 inches. I headed up this morning and fished from 7:30 a.m. until around noon. While fishing I didn't see a single bed, so it's still a little early. However, the male browns that I caught are starting to get their dark color, so it won't be long.
I fished using the same lure the entire time, and the browns smashed it today. The first hour, I couldn't set a hook to save my life. I missed so many fish before finally getting my timing right. Perhaps fishing for the pike and tiger musky the past few weeks through me off the trout game? Once I got with the program, fish were being pulled out of just about every hole. There were also a few cutthroat trout mixed in with the browns which was a nice bonus. The typical catch today was around 16 inches, but I landed several browns at or over 20 inches. If this trip is any indication of what is to come, It's going to be an unbelievable month or so during the spawn when the monsters come out of hiding. I hope you don't get tire of posts about brown trout, because they will be coming at you pretty heavy for the next several weeks.
First 20 incher of the day.

Typical brown for the Weber River.

What size fish came out of this small hole?...

...This 20 inch brown!

 
I caught these two fish (above and below) on back-to-back casts out of the same hole!
What a tank!

The token fall leaves picture for the article. I love the Fall!

October 11, 2012

More Yuba Action With A Personal Best

The pike at Yuba Reservoir were calling my name, so I got up early and made the drive down to see them. I arrived at Yuba around 7 a.m. and the sun came up just as I launched. I've been lucky as of late getting to see some spectacular sunrises, and today was no exception. I started out at the Painted Rocks area of the reservoir, and the wind was pretty bad. I fished for about an hour, catching a 20 inch pike in the process. The wind got to the point where it was blowing me off the water so I headed back in, packed everything up and headed to the other side of the lake to fish around the dam.
Once I made it over the the other ramp and started unloading my pontoon, I heard a whistling sound coming from my truck. DANG IT! I knew that sound meant one thing; that I was going to have a flat tire. I went and checked, and sure enough, I had a nice gash in the sidewall of one of the tires. I spent the next half hour putting on the spare, knowing this was going to cut my fishing day short. I wanted to have time to get my tire fixed so I could hit the river tomorrow.
I set out fishing the new area, and there was no wind to speak of which made it nice. I focused on the banks, casting Rapalas of different sizes and color patterns. On the such cast I had a big hit the second the lure hit the water. The pike didn't put up much of a fight until I got him close. Once he saw me, he made a hard run, peeling out line for a few seconds. I tightened my drag a touch and netted him on the second pass. Before even measuring him, I knew this fish was going to be a new personal best for me. Sure enough, at 28 inches, this pike beat my old record. I got a quick picture, and sent him on his way. I'm a newbie when it comes to pike fishing, and I know there are giants in this lake. More studying mixed with a lot more time on the water, and I'm sure I'll be able to get my goal of one over 40 inches (Utah State Record is 49 3/4 inches).
I left early to make it to a tire shop. On the way I saw a group of seven motorcycle cops riding together. It was an interesting sight to say the least. I made it to a tire shop and unfortunately, my tire couldn't be fixed so I had to get a new one. On the plus side, I have a date with the Weber River tomorrow. Big browns here I come!
 
 
Another great sunrise!

28 inch pike; A new personal best for this species.

A few cows came to water.

A motorcycle gang of cops? SAY WHAT???

October 8, 2012

Sunrise to Sunset at Pineview Reservoir

Joe's 48.5 inch tiger musky that he caught last Monday, 10-01-2012.
Based on Joe's catch this past Monday (pictured above), I'm sure you can imagine just how excited I was when he invited me to join him Friday to go after some tiger musky. I met him at the Port Ramp at Pineview Reservoir. It was a frosty morning at 32 degrees, and we were treated to one the the best sunrises I've seen in a long time.  When we launched, the water was glass with barely a hint of a breeze. We headed out with high hopes of catching another monster tiger musky (hybrid of a northern pike and a muskellunge), and we soon arrived at our first destination on the lake.
 
the sky looked to be on fire as we set out on the water.

calm conditions greeted us for the first few hours of the day.
 We started out casting shorelines. Joe worked subsurface, while I went top-water. As time went by, we started telling fish stroies from adventures past. I started focusing more on the conversation than I did the fishing. It was then, in mid-sentence and not paying attention that I heard an explosion out the the water and my line got heavy. The topic quickly went from fish stories to fighting the first fish of the day! The fish fought a good fight, but it was over quickly.
Since all tiger musky must be released from this reservoir, We were equipped with really heavy line so we could get the fish to the net as quickly as possible. Not dragging out the fight and having the proper equipment to handle these fish is essential for a good release, and the survival of the fish. Joe had everything needed, including one of the biggest nets I have ever seen in person. He could have netted me with that thing! I kept the musky in the water while Joe got the hook out. We got a quick measurement and a few pictures, and released to the musky to be caught another day. The musky measured in at 39 inches. While being on the skinny end of the spectrum, this tiger musky is a new personal best for me. It is also the longest fish I have caught in Utah.


A skinny 39 inch tiger musky; my personal best!

Check out those chompers!
We continued fishing the shorelines for the next several hours. While doing this, something smacked Joe's swim bait, and for a second we got excited thinking we were going to have another musky. Joe quickly realized that it wasn't a musky, but a nice small mouth bass that must have been real hungry going after what Joe was throwing. Around the next bend, Joe had a musky follow his lure all the way to the boat, but he couldn't get the musky to commit. He also missed another musky a short time later. The wind really picked up as the day wore on, and we decided to switch tactics from shoreline to trolling. we trolled for several hours without a bite, so we cast the shorelines the last few hours of the day.
As the sun dipped below the mountains, we called it, and headed back to the marina. Although the fishing screeched to a halt after the first few hours, it was still a great day fishing, and learning more about musky and how to catch them. Joe has put countless hours on this reservoir figuring out these fish, and he has cought a lot of them over the years. I thank him again for the invite and also getting me into the largest musky of my life so far. We have a few more trips planned targeting other fish, but I'm sure we will meet up again to go after "the fish of a thousand casts."
Joes with a nice small mouth bass.

The wind picked up and made for an interesting time manuvering the boat.

The last ray's of light before the sun sank below the mountain-tops.

September 28, 2012

Northern Pike At Yuba Reservoir


Nothing like an early fishing trip to get Friday started off right. According to some fishing reports that I read, the pike were biting at Yuba Reservoir, so I headed down to see for myself. I arrived around 7:30 am, got my pontoon set up and was on the water in no time. The morning started off really windy, and I battled waves for the first few hours. Fishing started off hot, hooking up on only my second cast! The first pike of the day was soon in the net, and it was a little one. I took a quick picture and released him for another person to catch.
About 10 minutes later, a had another pull on my line, and this time I could tell I had a bigger fish on. The pike made my drag sing a few times as I slowly wore him down. When I got him to the net, it was much bigger than the first. It measured in at 26 inches, which is a new personal best for me with this species. Unfortunately, I didn't get a picture of him. I didn't want to mess with my camera and try to manage a larger fish with sharp teeth at the same time.

First pike of the day.
The fishing died down after the quick start, so I headed to a different area of the reservoir. When I got there, I could hear the clucks of chuckers. It sounded like they were everywhere, and I soon found out why. When I got closer to the bank I spotted 30-40 of them right at the waters edge. Once they saw me, they made their way up the boulders and into the bushes. The chucker hunt starts tomorrow and it looks like I have a new spot to try if it turns out that this is a legal hunting area. There were also some really interesting petroglyphs on a cliff face nearby that was an added bonus to this trip.
 
A few of the Chuckers that came down to say hello.

Native American petroglyphs overlooking the reservoir.
 I ended up catching two more little pike to finish the day with a total of four. All of them were caught on 5 inch Rapalas of various colors. Wire leader is a must for anyone wanting to go and catch one. With as much fun as it was catching these smaller pike, it leaves me wanting to make another trip down here to see what it would be like to dance with one of the trophy pike that are here. You'll definitely be seeing me again Yuba!

These were just babies, but they were still fun to catch!